"Fort Slocum, NY: Modern 'Doughboys' doff their usual khaki and don, of all things, wome's clothes to star in their own version of 'Swing Fever.' Singing and dancing a la Broadway. You'll howl!" men dress as women for stage show (some sound) (partial newsreel)
Michael A. Cavanaugh
April 24, 2006
Fort Slocum WWII musical Swing Fever
This show was originally scheduled for before Christmas 1941. According to the post newspaper, The Casual News I(15) 15 Nov 1941 p 1, it "centers around the vicissitudes of an intellectually inhabited Army post once it has been invaded, via the draft, by a group of swing musicians." The libretto was written by Pfcs Richard Burdick and Horace Sutton; music by Capt. Louis E. Tepp, Miss Marcelle Meyer and Burdick. (Burdick had civilian stage experience, Meyer was with the YMCA which sponsored the production. The film clip seems to be of the YMCA stage, basement of bldg. 82.) It was written specifically for the talent on post, and included Pfc Danny Lapidos (director of the Ft. Slocum Dance Band), S/Sgt Abraham Small (director of the Post Band; that may be him directing the music in the film clip), Kay Sharp (daughter of a Sgt on post), Lt. Samuel Ogden, Capt Eric Anderson & Lt John Steele. The post newspaper completely downplayed the crossdressing aspect (which the newsreel plays up). Before the WAACs arrived in 1943 there were few women on post (only daughters & civilian employees e.g. the YMCA); later stage productions at Slocum would feature more integrated casts, and the WACs would be active participants. As in the Army generally the post band was very important. This is a rare clip of the band as well as of social life at Ft Slocum (1861-1965), "the Ellis Island of the US Army."